The Austin-based singer found inspiration for her forthcoming album from "love, loss, dreams, and a little weed."
Kelly Hafner's versatile voice includes everything from hip-hop to country.
Based in Austin, Texas, Hafner graduated from the Berklee College of Music before fronting the Bay Area band, Fire. Once she relocated to Austin, she joined the fusion band Collective Thought while simultaneously working on her solo project. The title track from her forthcoming album, If It's Love, is slated for release on January 18. The full album is due to drop February 22.
Popdust sat down with Hafner to find out what the new year has in store for the R&B/soul diva
An impulsive, passionate, curious thrill seeker.
What is the most trouble you've ever gotten into?
Getting caught drunk streaking with three of my friends on the last day of school in high school was pretty bad. We couldn't go to a boring pre-graduation assembly because of it, so maybe it wasn't really that bad at all.
What's your favorite song to belt out in the car or the shower?
Lately I've been really into Hiatus Kaiyote's "Molasses." I love the rhythm, the keys, and the vocals.
Who is your favorite music artist?
It's hard to choose one. I love Otis Redding, Lauryn Hill, and Frank Ocean.
How did you get started in music? What's the backstory there?
I started singing when I was a young kid, maybe around 3 or 4, after I listened to my mom's Marvin Gaye records. I would sing Aretha Franklin in middle school and was really into Janis Joplin, country, and Bob Marley. In high school I got into hip hop, and my brother showed me good music, too, like Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix along the way. After I graduated college, I knew all I wanted to do was sing, so I started writing songs and performing.
What musicians influenced you the most?
Etta James, Sublime, Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse.
How, if at all, do your musical influences shape and impact your music?
I like a lot of different musical influences and genres. Soul, R&B, hip hop, electronic, funk, jazz, country, and reggae all resonate with me as a listener and make their way into my music, depending on the mood I'm in when I create it. I love fusing different genres together, too, and I think music is constantly evolving and changing. I'm also in a couple different projects, Collective Thought (a reggae hip hop band), and I'll be putting out an electronic EP with my friend Lando next year. I try not to limit myself creatively, which has helped fuel me to write.
What inspired your forthcoming album, If It's Love?
Love, loss, dreams, and a little weed. Also, the experience of living in a new place. Austin is special, and there's a sense of peace and calm about it that inspires me to write freely.
Who produced the album? Are you happy with the way it turned out?
Derek Hames produced the album out of Edgewater Music Group in Sugar Land, TX. I'm really happy with how it turned out. After I heard how he mixed vocals, I was in.
What is your songwriting process? Lyrics first, or music?
It depends on the song; it's different each time. Most of the time words will pop into my head, and I'll write them down. Then the next time I'm jamming with a friend, usually Sam Diaz, one of the guitarists on the album, I'll sing the lyrics over a groove he makes up. For some songs, I'll make an instrumental on my computer using Reason and then improvise lyrics over it during the first take recording it. I think a big part of songwriting is just waiting for the words to come to you and making sure you can remember them.
In general, from where do you draw your musical inspiration?
The people I meet, the places I go, and the experiences I have. If an emotion gets stuck in my head, it helps to express it through writing. Also it feels good to sing. It puts you into a flow state where you don't notice time going by.
What's next for you, musically?
My new single "If it's Love" will come out on January 18th, 2019, with the full album If It's Love out on February 22nd. I can't wait for it to be out!
Will you be doing any touring?
Yes, I'll be singing in Austin, TX at the Flamingo Cantina on January 4th with a full band.
Randy Radic is a Left Coast author and writer. Author of numerous true crime books written under the pen-name of John Lee Brook. Former music contributor at Huff Post.
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Let's take a look at Nazi-inspired fashion.
Villains always have the best outfits.
From Darth Vader's polished black space armor to The Joker's snazzy purple suit, bad guys always seem to show up their protagonists in the fashion department.
Way more handsome than Batman. static.giantbomb.com
But could there possibly be a real world equivalent to the type of over-the-top villain fashion often found in fiction? It would have to be sleek and imposing, austere and dangerous. Probably black.
Maybe it's him. Maybe it's fascist ideology.
Let's call a spade a spade. From an aesthetic standpoint, the Nazi SS outfit is very well-designed. The long coat tied around the waist with a buckle portrays a slim, sturdy visage. The leather boots and matching cap look harsh and powerful. The emblem placements on the lapel naturally suggest rank and authority. And the red armband lends a splash of color to what would otherwise be a dark monotone. If the Nazi uniform wasn't so closely tied with the atrocities they committed during WWII, it wouldn't seem out of place at Fashion Week. Perhaps not too surprising, considering many of the uniforms were made by Hugo Boss.
Pictured: A real thing Hugo Boss did. i.imgur.com
Of course, today, Nazi uniform aesthetics are inseparable from the human suffering doled out by their wearers. In most circles of civilized society, that's more than enough reason to avoid the garb in any and all fashion choices. But for some, that taboo isn't a hindrance at all–if anything, it's an added benefit.
As a result, we have Nazi chic, a fashion trend centered around the SS uniform and related Nazi imagery.
History of Nazi Chic
For the most part, Nazi chic is not characterized by Nazi sympathy. Rather, Nazi chic tends to be associated with counterculture movements that view the use of its taboo imagery as a form of shock value, and ironically, anti-authoritarianism.
The movement came to prominence in the British punk scene during the mid-1970s, with bands like the Sex Pistols and Siouxsie and the Banshees displaying swastikas on their attire alongside other provocative imagery.
Very rotten, Johnny. i.redd.it
Around this time, a film genre known as Nazisploitation also came to prominence amongst underground movie buffs. A subgenre of exploitation and sexploitation films, Naziploitation movies skewed towards D-grade fare, characterized by graphic sex scenes, violence, and gore. Plots typically surrounded female prisoners in concentration camps, subject to the sexual whims of evil SS officers, who eventually escaped and got their revenge. However, the most famous Nazisploitation film, Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS, flipped the genders.
The dorm room poster that will ensure you never get laid. images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com
Ilsa was a female SS officer and the victims were men. She spent much of the movie wearing her Nazi uniform in various states, sexually abusing men all the while. As such, Ilsa played into dominatrix fantasies. The movie was a hit on the grindhouse circuit, inspiring multiple sequels and knock-offs and solidifying Nazi aesthetics as a part of the BDSM scene.
Since then, Nazi chic fashion has been employed by various artists, from Madonna to Marilyn Manson to Lady Gaga, and has shown up in all sorts of places from leather clubs to character designs in video games and anime.
Lady Gaga looking SS-uper. nyppagesix.files.wordpress.com
Nazi Chic in Asia
Nazi chic has taken on a life of its own in Asia. And unlike Western Nazi chic, which recognizes Nazism as taboo, Asian Nazi chic seems entirely detached from any underlying ideology.
A large part of this likely has to do with the way that Holocaust education differs across cultures. In the West, we learn about the Holocaust in the context of the Nazis committing horrific crimes against humanity that affected many of our own families. The Holocaust is presented as personal and closer to our current era than we might like to think. It is something we should "never forget." Whereas in Asia, where effects of the Holocaust weren't as prominent, it's simply another aspect of WWII which, in and of itself, was just another large war. In other words, Nazi regalia in Asia might be viewed as simply another historical military outfit, albeit a particularly stylish one.
In Japan, which was much more involved with WWII than any other Asian country, Nazi chic is usually (but not always) reserved for villainous representations.
OF COURSE. i.imgur.com
That being said, J-Pop groups like Keyakizaka46 have publicly worn Nazi chic too, and the phenomena isn't limited to Japan.
In South Korea, Indonesia, and Thailand, Nazi imagery has shown up in various elements of youth culture, completely void of any moral context. For instance, in Indonesia, a Hitler-themed fried chicken restaurant opened in 2013. And in Korea, K-Pop groups like BTS and Pritz have been called out for propagating Nazi chic fashion. Usually such incidents are followed by public apologies, but the lack of historical understanding makes everything ring hollow.
So the question then: is Nazi chic a bad thing?
The answer is not so black and white.
On one hand, seeing Nazi chic on the fashion scene may dredge up painful memories for Holocaust survivors and those whose family histories were tainted. In this light, wearing Nazi-inspired garb, regardless of intent, seems disrespectful and antagonistic. Worse than that, it doesn't even seem like a slight against authority so much as a dig at actual victims of genocide.
But on the other hand, considering the fact that even the youngest people who were alive during WWII are edging 80, "forgetting the Holocaust" is a distinct possibility for younger generations. In that regard, perhaps anything that draws attention to what happened, even if it's simply through the lens of "this outfit should be seen as offensive," might not be entirely bad. This, compounded by the fact that Nazi chic is not commonly associated with actual Nazi or nationalistic sentiments, might be enough to sway some people–not necessarily to wear, like, or even appreciate its aesthetics, but rather to understand its place within counterculture.
Ultimately, one's views on Nazi chic likely come down to their own personal taste and sensibilities. For some, Nazi chic is just a style, an aesthetic preference for something that happens to be mired in historical horror. For others, the shadow of atrocity simply hangs too strong.
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- Nazi Chic – Aesthetics of Evil – Medium ›
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Summer Walker returns and is no longer playing games.
Summer Walker loves creating music but despises the music industry.
She regularly considers retirement and ended her 2019 tour early because of social anxiety. "I hope that people understand and respect that at the end of the day I'm a person, I have feelings, I get tired, I get sad," she said in a video post. "I don't want to lose myself for someone else." She was relentlessly vilified for her decision. Fans cited stiff meet-and-greets and chalked up Walker's cancellations to a sense of entitlement.
Then she was presented with the "Best New Artist" award at the 2019 Soul Train Awards, and her hurried acceptance speech was dissected by tasteless memes all across the country. Walker's candid cries for understanding remained completely ignored by years end. The truth of the matter is that Walker suffers from anxiety and stage fright that is all but totally crippling. So she did what any misunderstood artist does, she disappeared and stopped saying anything at all.